Thankful Thursday #89

* Bizarre in Capidoccia (2011)

833. 2 days of 70+ degree weather
834. Thing 3's acceptance into ERA
 835. tough conversations with Things 1 and 2
836. Thing 4 reading to me
837. pain free training runs
838. small group fellowship on Sunday night
839. "The Screwtape Letters"
840. afternoon walks in the sunshine
841. love letters
842. new niece safely entering this world

Beauty Within

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or so we've been told.  While that statement may be true, I consider it more of a platitude.  We are, were or are yet to be created in His image.  No mistakes made, molded in His likeness.  What an honor and what a challenging truth to believe. 

A while back Thing 3's Sunday school teacher lead an event for the fifth and sixth grade girls, Glam Night.  There were make up booths, hair stations, nail painting and racks of 80's style prom and bridesmaid dresses.  The fun didn't stop there.  Each girl was treated to an all natural honey mask to cleanse their pores.  Then, for me, the best part happened.  Hanging on the wall was a large outline of the body of  a young girl. Each girl was encouraged to add what she thought was her best God-given feature.  Not only that, the girls all stood in front of a floor length mirror and had questions to answer.  Introspective.  Qualities and traits that are unique to them.  Not just on the outside but the inside as well.

Most interesting though was that a majority of the girls were confident in who they were and how they were designed.  Whoa, I am sure that at their age I would not have been so bold.  Of course there some that were timid.  To be expected.  That is when their friends stepped in and offered encouragement in a way that only a tween-ager can.  It seemed to be just the words that girl needed to hear, a boost of assurance.  What a work being done in the lives of these young ladies.  Sure, they may have sheepishly approached the paper but with marker in hand they decisively added their trait.  The goal of these activities was to help initiate the understanding that we are all unique creations.  Different DNA, special and valued and all because of a God who numbers the hairs on each head. 

I had the privilege of watching this unfold.  All the girl Things and I were in attendance, Thing 3 as a participant and the others and myself to help.  I took photographs.  And from the behind the lens I felt as though I could see straight into those young girls souls.  The timidness with which some approached the mirrors and then the confidence others had when adding their own.  Again, I couldn't help but think how this scenario plays out today in my life as a grown woman.  It has taken time, years in fact, for me to feel comfortable in my own skin.  I often stand amazed at how OK my girl Things are with themselves.  How un-threatened they feel and how they know to their core that they are beauties, inside and out.  More importantly, all the way through to their soul.  Me, at their age and beyond,  not so much.  Finding worth in appearance, clothes and all things outward was the matter at hand in my teen years.  I'm not exactly sure when it all clicked and there  are days where I land on the teeter totter of it all again.  Do I look alright?  Then there are days where I ask my teenagers if what I'm wearing is fashion friendly, etc.  They usually roll their eyes at me or tell me to march upstairs and change, because, "No Mama, you can't leave the house in your sweats again",  Yeah, I know.  

In the midst of all the glam and photo shoots and such there was pause for pizza and prayer.  A given combination for a room full of giggly girls.  It was such a sweet time of discipleship and an opportunity for each and everyone of them to hear their value as a daughter of the King.  We celebrated being a girl and recognized that beauty does go much deeper than the skin.  And best of all, these girls heard and they took part in it all first hand.  A memory that will hopefully carry into their teenage years and beyond. 

I am fully aware that I do no justice to this subject.  As a woman I am lacking and flawed.  The only way to be made beautiful is by grace.  His grace.  To be filled with the Truth and believe it.  So if my words seem empty or not sufficient I ask for more grace.  I wanted to write these thoughts to remember that night. To soak in once again the lessons learned from young girls who unabashedly shared their beauty that night.

So my prayer after experiencing this night with my girls is the song of Psalm 139, that they believe this.  Their purpose lies in the hands of their Creator who knit them together for so much more than this world has to offer them.  I pray they lift their eyes upward and live for heaven. Ad remember true beauty lies within. 

Psalm 139:13-16 NIV
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

Thankful Thursday #88

Fish stand in Istanbul

823. rain drops tapping the window as I type
824. grace from Husband Jared
825. date night planned
826. a full calendar
827. watching a passion being pursued
828. change, happening all around
829. only 6 more Mondays until summer
830. new commitments
831. reading in bed together before lights are turned out
832. photos bringing to life memories

Easy Like Monday Morning...

Or not.  Just maybe the weather here will stop dictating my attitude towards our living environment.  I pray it does.  And soon.  For myself, but most of all for those around me.  I have realized I crave the sunshine.  When Husband Jared mentioned last night that he was looking forward to not having a scorching summer with temps above 90 degrees F, I began to feel ill.  I want those temps.  I enjoy the sunshine beating down on me with fierceness.  Maybe I will feel differently beings there are not turquiose seas beckoning me to them all summer.  Or maybe not.  Either way I have learned this about myself, I like the sunshine. 

Thankful Thursday #87

Just Polo, because, well,
he hasn't been featured here in a while

813. glory on Easter morn
814. training runs with Husband Jared
815. encouragement from friend
816. surprise catch up with new friend
817. dinner gift from neighbors
818. carpool
819. Thing 1 excited about a math grade
820. Thing 2 dancing with me
821. Sharing with Thing 3
822. Thing 4 needing Mama time

Easter Weekend

Our weekend was absolutely wonderful.  I savored each and every moment.  It began with a special service Friday night, reflective and moving.  Saturday was spent together.  All day.  It was rainy and perfect for baking and coloring eggs and laughing and snuggling. 

 Husband Jared helping Thing 4 with his egg

Nana's Easter cookies, family tradition

Sunday came and not a moment soon.  Husband Jared and I greeted the sunrise with an early morning run.  Good for my soul.  And my legs and my training and my abs and on and on.  Anyhow, muffins with the Things, baskets with treats and a celebratory service with dear friends.  Lunch at home, a bit of some bubbly and an afternoon spent playing footie, relaxing together and reflecting on all that was done for us this glorious weekend.

 Things and their baskets

Just the six of us

Hope your weekend was overflowing with joy, I know ours was!

Road Trip

With Thing 1 just having had surgery and Spring break looming we had no plans to travel.  We did however have the itch to jump in the car and hit the road.  And that is just what we did.  For a day. Well not even a day really, more like a short afternoon.

The road out of town

We were on the road to Red Wing, MN.  A small town near the border of Wisconsin.  The  plan was to drive there, walk around, enjoy lunch and take in the quaintness of the small town.  Not so much.  Upon arrival the Things were restless.  No one saw any cafes that enticed them and the town left a bit to be desired.  At least for our expectations for the day.  Passing on Red Wing we continued driving to Nelson's Creamery, located across from Wabasha, on the Wisconsin side.  We crossed a rather interesting bridge over the mighty Mississippi River and drove right pass our destination.  The only visible landmark was a rusty cheese and wine bottle sign hanging on the side of the building.  After turning around we were all pleasantly surprised by the menu and the creamery itself.  While cheese and butter is no longer produced here they do boast quite the selection of International cheeses and meats as well as a variety of delectable sandwiches.  Not to mention the $1 scoop of ice cream which had the Things before we even entered.  Yes, they are their mother's children.  We shared lunch, devoured our ice cream and hit the road once again.

Lunch time

The Creamery sign is on the backside of the building

Headed home after a two hour drive for a meal was not my idea of a successful road trip.  Husband Jared quickly reminded me that we were together, the six of us.  Unplugged and making memories. Listening to our Things laugh and tell stories and yes, antagonize one another.  Y'all know what they say about the best laid plans.  So we found ourselves caught in rush hour traffic which lead to a detour, Caspian Market.  Recommended to us by a Turkish woman whom the eldest two Things know from school.  Once again they were sharing stories and things they loved, food topping the list.  This fine lady told us about a Persian market in Minneapolis.  Oh how happy was I?  We walked in to be greeted by familiar smells and packaging and music all reminiscent of a corner market in our neighborhood in Turkey.  We walked the aisles pointing to labels and brands we knew.  We found our favorite olives and pomegranate sauce and eggplant, and on and on.  Such a splendid ending to our day.  I wish I had photos to share, however I am confident that I will be visiting Caspian's again. 
Our well planned road trip didn't go exactly as intended but it was exactly what we needed that day. 

A Week With Nani

I have been absent from the blog for over a week all due to LIFE.  You see, my mom, AKA Nani, came to visit us, Thing 1 had surgery, she's been recovering and we were having fun with our visitor. 
Who has time to blog with all of that?  A quick recap with a few photos thrown in. 

Thing 1's surgery went swimmingly.  Oh to be young and resilient.  Her ACL was in fact torn and there was a small tear/flap on her miniscus as well.  The talented surgeon repaired all, showed us photos and was then off to Mexico.  We were left with stitches, a groggy girl and a long road of physical therapy ahead.  Although, upon her arrival home, there was a bouquet of flowers, chocolate covered strawberries and a concerned Polo dog not wanting to leave her side.  Not to mention three nurse maids answering her every need.

Thing 1's destination for the next few days

For a few days we were hunkered down at home.  Thankfully we had accomplished our Spring shopping extravaganza before surgery.  And if I haven't mentioned we went to Mall of America.  It just so happens it was on the very same day that the girl Things' fav boy band from the UK was making an appearance.  Thing 1 and Thing 2 went into full blown hysteria, finding the best spot to catch a glimpse of the hunky boys, (does anyone say that anymore?) and Nani and I were left to shop.  On our own.  We couldn't hear a word the other one said due to all the screeching.  The girls returned to us after their sighting flushed and completely thrilled. 

If you can spot the dot of red and white in the middle
 you will have found Thing 1 and Thing 2

Moving on, the days at home were spent icing, visiting the doc, baking, cooking, watching movies, planning our next outing, working for Husband Jared and myself and of course giving Polo a pedicure.  Yes, we are those people.  Or rather, Nani is that person, and we love her!

 Thing 1 shared her strawberries with the family

 Thing 3 and Nani baking cupcakes of course

Polo being pampered

With Nani being here a trip to the Original Pancake House was a given.  By Friday Thing 1 was a bit stir crazy and needed to be out of the house, so off we went.  After a filling breakfast of a variety of pancakes we had a few errands to run.  Costco here we come and electric shopping cart too! 

The Things hovering in wonderment

The day ended with "The Lorax".  Not at all impressed and more than dissappointed.  I'll stick to the book.  The Things enjoyed the animation and were actually the oldest children in the theatre.  Hmm.  We of course still had fun  because that's what we do. 

Then it we arrived at Nani's last weekend with us.  Hoping for some beautiful weather we planned a trip to Minnehaha Falls.  After an amazing worship and sermon together we hit the road.  The sun was shining and everyone was anxious to explore.  Running from the car all the Things, well with the exception of Thing 1, went down the stairs and to the rocks.  Thing 2 and Thing 4 leading the charge of course.  We took some photos and then our grumbly stomachs got the best of us and we went to lunch.

Before we knew it that weekend was over and it was Nani's day of departure.  A long walk began our day just right and then it was craft time.  Well, actually we put Nani to work.  There were a few sewing projects that needed her expertise.  The Things had some flower hair clip project planned and Thing 4 had an art book to begin.  What a special morning watching them all create together.  Nani even had a few spare minutes for a speedy sewing lesson for Thing 3.  Love that.

Crafting away

Now you all are caught up on the last week or so with us six Hansons.  Nani has since left us here in the North for warmer weather and some Gianna time.  As for us we are enjoying Spring break and the lack of  schedules, lunches and homework.  Not that we don't eat lunch, I just don't have to make 5 lunches in the wee hours of the morning.  Moving on.